Saturday, November 29, 2014

Vision Board: Where are you going in 2015? Five Tips to get you started


Once you realize how valuable you are, you gain a greater understanding of why it is important to make the most of your time. Don’t waste it!! A year is a substantial amount of time to get a great number of things accomplished. I don’t know about you but it seems as if time is really getting away from us and each year is going by much quicker than it did the year before. Let’s plan this year and make it as purposeful as possible.

Not quite sure where to start? Here are some questions to get you going…
·         Where do you see yourself by the end of the year?
·         Where do you see yourself in 6 months?
·         What hurdles do you want to see yourself overcoming naturally and spiritually?               
·         Do you have a fitness goal in mind for this year? What is it?
·         Is your goal to become an effective leader? Awesome cook? Grow healthy natural hair, etc?
·         Do you want to study the bible more? Read a certain amount of books?
·         Is this the year you will start a Non-Profit? Or a new business?
·         Which comfort zones are you going to come out of? Have you identified those areas that could use growth?
·         How are you going to give back to your community?
·         Who are the people, places and things that you could reciprocally benefit from your investment of time?

Below are 5 Tips to help this year get started off right:

1. Don’t confuse this with a New Year’s Resolution. The reason why I say this is because New Year’s Resolutions typically only last about the first few months into the year or until it is accomplished. I want you to be successful at this so we won’t combine it with a resolution. Besides, when do you ever hear the words “New Year’s Resolution” past the month of March?

2. Set measurable goals. If your goal is to save a certain amount of money by a certain period. Divide the full amount in increments and proceed that way. The results will be two fold. Not only will you have small goals you are accomplishing, which is great for momentum, but at the end of the period you will have met your initial goal. Also remember that S.M.A.R.T. goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

3. Be honest enough to finally get over that hurdle. Do you have an area of your life that is weak and suffering because you haven’t put an adequate amount of time and effort toward it? Each year you push it to the back burner, each year it’s something you deal with. You are tired of your life looking like a merry go round yet you haven’t stopped it from spinning. Stop turning the same corner and stop coming back to face the same thing over again. This year, you need to commit to face it head on. Your destiny awaits.

4. If you have children, have them set some goals for the coming year as well. Helping them make their own vision board is not only a great way to get them to think strategically but by doing exercises like this, they will grow into effective leaders and goal driven adults.

5. lastly…If you see a need, be the resolution. There are things that weigh on you and you wish there is something that you could do. You have the idea but may not think that you can execute it. Well, if God gave you the idea then you are essential to the plan and you must do your part.

Take time to celebrate your accomplishments and celebrate your life.

A year goes by extremely fast but it is plenty of time to make a significant difference. Let’s plan this year and make it as purposeful as possible.

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Pictured is my Vision/Motivational board for 2014. My board for 2015 is going to be a lot more strategic. I chose this year to focus on loving, enhancing and growing myself, and what a year it has been.  Although, I didn’t realize it at the time, I needed this board to help me get through the tough periods in this year. The picture on top says, “you have to keep pushing yourself” and that is exactly what I had to do. My motivational board kept me encouraged and not getting lost in everything that was going on around me. Although I didn’t know what this year would entail, my vision board was perfect as it highlighted…

·         The things that bring me peace and serenity
·         The thing that bring me joy
·         The things that motivate me
·         Reminders of who I am and how significant I am to my family and my community.
·         Reminders that I am never alone

Favorite quotes from the board…

·         “They think I’m very cute and so sweet. But that won’t cut it anymore” – Mandy Moore
·         “Start Unknown, Finish Unforgettable” -unknown
·         “A breeze makes all the difference” –unknown
(I know this sounds weird but one of my favorite things is a cool breeze on a warm day. I get lost in the serenity of something so simple and God given)
·         “Don’t be afraid to fail, be afraid not to try” –unknown”
·         “The real thing rocks” – unknown (When love is real it covers, it protects, and it brings out the best in you)

Images from the board…

Images have a way of capturing thoughts without words. Many of my images were images of confident and strong women. The images speak to where I am now as well as my future. Hopefully this has given you a few ideas to get started. Don’t go into this year without goals in mind. If you wait until 2015 to do this, it’s already too late.

Get ‘er done,
Mellissa
©She Smiles Within

Coconut Rum Cake with Rum Glaze



When my aunt told me that all I needed to bring was a dessert for thanksgiving, I immediately begin to think of all the awesome concoctions that I have seen on Pinterest and wanted to try. With a recent encounter with a fabulous Rum Cake from Jamaica at an older cousin’s house, I wanted to give rum cake a shot. Lately, I have been being really daring when it comes to baking or cooking stuff for the first time for someone. I don’t know about you but usually I’d stick to those tried and true recipes because with trying a new recipe you are bound to make notes for the next time like…

“It’s too sweet, I’ll make it with less sugar next time” or
“I think I left it in the oven too long, I’ll cut back 15 minutes the next time that I cook it”

Well, I took the cake out too early and after a minute I realized it still a little too moist. I put it back in and went on about my business but around the time I remembered putting it back in I could already smell that distinct burnt smell. I ran into the kitchen to find a slightly darkened or burnt (let’s just be real) cake. Thank goodness it wasn’t that bad and the directions called for poking holes and drizzling the glaze inside the cake!! So, I finished up the cake, put the lid on the cake carrier to prepare for Thanksgiving. Besides, it was family so they wouldn’t talk about me too bad if it didn’t turn out right. ß That statement was to make myself feel better. They would’ve had a good laugh at my expense while I was there and after I had left. Don’t worry, I would’ve laughed right along with them.
Dinner had been served and the family was in different parts of the house hanging out. I’m sitting upstairs in the living room watching Millionaire Matchmaker(Patti if you ever happen to read this. I would love to work for you one day.) So I was swept up in the show and someone said, “Is this the cake everyone is talking about?.” Lo and behold it was my cake which at this time was half gone!!! I didn’t even know anyone had started eating it. Then my uncle commented about how I made some people very happy downstairs. It made me feel so good to hear all the giggle and see the smiling faces after they ate my rum cake. I was able to take home one slice and boy was I glad that I did. It was so yummy!
For anyone needing a quick and easy recipe that is sure to be a hit at your next event, do not pass this one up. The ratings speak for themselves!

Cake

  • 1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut
  • 1  18 ounce box yellow cake mix
  • 3.4 ounces (4-serving size) instant coconut pudding mix
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup cold milk
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup Malibu Coconut Rum

Glaze

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup Malibu Coconut Rum

Preparation:

Cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Sprinkle nuts and coconut on bottom of pan. Combine all cake ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes on high with electric mixer. Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. . Prick bottom of cake (still in pan) with wooden skewer. Drizzle 1/2 of glaze over holes in bottom of cake. Let sit for 40 minutes.  Invert cake onto cake plate and poke holes in the top with wooden skewer.  (I didn’t poke holes in the top portion of the cake) Poor or brush remaining glaze over top.
Glaze: Melt butter in saucepan. Stir in water and sugar. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in rum. Note: The rum will cause steam so be careful not to burn yourself.
The original recipe using Bacardi Dark Rum can be found at about.com.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

A Mother Never Forgets


Josiah’s Birthday


Each year on this day, I go in my bedroom closet and reach on the top of the shelf to grab a box. A box filled with priceless treasures. Memories of my baby, my second born who would be turning 9 years old today.  I remember like it was yesterday, sitting in the room with the doctor and genetic counselor at 20 weeks. As you can probably imagine, everything that they were saying was a bunch of gibberish. I had checked out, asked a few questions and then the gibberish started again. They quickly gained my attention again when they said, “If you are going to terminate the pregnancy, you should do it now. There are some states that will do it after a certain period but that window is closing fast”. I didn’t believe in abortions. I couldn’t possibly. I needed to know what my options were. What were my baby’s options? What was going to happen after the baby was born? I knew something was wrong based on my early appointments but I didn’t expect this. You see, I had a miscarriage earlier in the pregnancy. After the miscarriage, I went to the doctor to get some blood work done only to find out that I was still pregnant. The type of test they gave me would’ve shown the pregnancy hormone level decreasing after the miscarriage, but my hormone levels were still increasing. The doctor said there may have been two babies in separate sacks (twins). They also forewarned that sometimes when one baby goes, the other baby typically follows so they wanted to monitor me closely.

I left that room that day after speaking with them with a heavy heart. However, little did I know, I left the hospital with the greatest gift in the form of a book that I would come to treasure. A book of mother’s who shared their stories of loss. These women were not without fear but were extremely brave. They all had their individual stories. I didn’t agree with all of their choices but I felt connected to each of them because they were mothers, because they knew my pain, they walked in my shoes. I loved each of them dearly for their bravery. After reading the book, I had a new outlook on my baby’s life and making the best of the time we had together.

I went into labor October 31st (7 months pregnant). I was living with my mother at the time and didn’t know I was in labor. The contractions from my firstborn were extremely painful but my contractions with Josiah were just uncomfortable. This uncomfortable feeling had gone on for hours. When I told my mom what was going on she immediately called 911. I was very calm when I first got into the ambulance. I gave the little paramedic guy the rundown of information. “I don’t have any amniotic fluid and my baby was breached at my last appointment”.  A few minutes into the ride I started to tell the fresh faced ambulance guy that, “I feel like I’m going to boo boo on myself”. Yes, in those exact words. Smh. Then I started saying, “Oh my gosh, I really think I’m going to boo boo on myself” repeatedly. I humiliatingly went from saying it calmly in concern to yelling, “IM GOING TO BOO BOO ON MYSELF!!!”. I literally crack up thinking about it today, but in that moment all I could think about was this insatiable urge to crap and I didn’t want to do it in my clothes. I was too old for that. Forget the fact that I was pregnant and in labor. My yelling fell to silence and I began pushing. In my mind all I could think about was, “man, I’m pretty sure I’m crapping and this guys is watching me, but I can’t help it”. At this point, I was slightly embarrassed but oh well.  I said, “something is coming out!”. He asked me if I wanted him to take a look. Immediately, I said “NO!?” in offense. This guy wasn’t going to get a free peek off on me!!!! Even in labor, I was clearly concerned about my goodies.

I got to the hospital and they rushed me right into the delivery room. I didn’t have any amniotic fluid but I was sure something was hanging out my “wooha”. The doctor’s must’ve saw it too because they wasted no time getting me into delivery. 

Josiah was born, no cry, no noise from the doctors.

I remember telling the nurse that I wanted a breast pump. I wanted to give my baby a fighting chance. The sweet lady obliged and brought me what I wanted. She knew my baby wasn’t doing that well but she wasn’t going to deny me what I wanted… even if I was in denial. I look back on that day and I’m sure that my room was filled with “Angels” aka Nurses. They were the most thoughtful, attentive and loving women to me. I was a complete stranger but they anticipated my needs and although I left without a baby in my arms, I didn’t regret being at that hospital at that time.

The last thing that the nurses did for me was gather everything I wanted into the treasure box that I go through on this day each year. In it lies a pair of little socks, lots of pictures, footprints, patient ID, baby hat, baby doll sized diapers and much more. The last thing I did was write a letter…

            Open Letter to Josiah written 11/02/05

I’m just sitting here and thinking about you. I couldn’t let you go last night. Your dad hit it right on the nose when he said that the reason I couldn’t let you go was because I didn’t want you to think that I let you go so easily. I told you about the life I wanted you to have and we talked a lot about your brother. He’s going to have questions when he gets older, but I’ll let him know that you are watching over him. It’s hard to lose someone you love so dear and the next weeks, months and even years are going to be hard for me because you were here and now you’re gone. Last night I was watching TV and someone said...”it’s not the length of life, it’s the quality. I don’t know what the show was about but I had quality of life with you. Although your presence was short lived. I knew that you knew who I was. After you were born, I hurried to come see you. You were cute and pink and held my hand when I touched yours. Your tiny finger clinched around mine and my heart melted. You even opened your eyes I sat and watched you for a while as I listened to Dr. Clark tell me what was going on. All that didn’t seem to matter to me. You were here and that was all I cared about. The second time I came to see you, you looked a lot different. Your color was gone and you looked like you had enough. Seeing you the second time was hard. All I wanted to do was take you off all of those machines and hold you. I wanted to lay you on my chest and tell you that I loved and thank you for fighting for your life long enough for me to meet you, see you, hold you, love you and then say goodbye. Although I’m grateful for the time we had, I wished I could take you home with me. I wished I could wake up to your sweet face and baby breath. I wished. But God knows best, God knew the kind of world that you would be brought into. He knew your obstacles, he knew….he knew what was best for you and I. Your dad, grandma, and grandpa came to see you and spend time with you. They loved you dearly too. You would’ve loved them. Two sides of your big brother’s life. One takes care of you and spoils you like a second mom and the other is the best playmate you’ll ever have. In the years to come as I watch your bother, I will think of you playing beside him and smiling. Because deep down in my heart you will be there. You are my teacher. You’ve taught me the meaning of love. Something’s you just can’t learn any other way…

Many mothers go through loss. People automatically assume that we don’t want to discuss it and rather sweep it under the rug. Yes, there are times that we don’t, but more often than not we really do. It’s healing to know that people care. Our baby’s lives do count. As life goes on, everything may change around us but we never forget.  

Here are some of my prized memories:

This is a picture of my father and I with Josiah.  My father was there for me and wept just like my child was his own. I only saw this man cry twice in my life. When I told him I was pregnant with Tre (my firstborn) and in this moment at the hospital. I love him.


This is Josiah’s memorial for the graveside service. My cousin Sada brought me over her house and let me unplug while she created these for me. I love her for that.

I want to leave you with this song by CeCe Winans. I was dealing with so much at the time and this song really got me through. My aunt told my mom what to buy and she did. The entire CD is great but this song spoke to my heart. Do yourself a favor and listen.


For those of you wanting to know. My baby was diagnosed with Potter’s Syndrome. The baby’s kidney’s did not develop properly resulting in the inability to produce urine (Amniotic fluid). Not producing amniotic fluid leads to other things like the baby’s lungs not developing properly. In the womb, the amniotic fluid allows the baby room to “breathe” or do breathing exercising to develop their lungs. The doctor’s said that the baby could die inside of me, but I’m so thankful that wasn’t the case. I went into the labor, I held, I kissed my child and my child touched me back. Josiah lived 14 precious hours. 2lbs 5oz 13 ½ inches. As Josiah’s health started to get worst we decided to get away from the machines and out of the NICU and enjoy our last moments together in private.

Thanks for letting me share a piece of my heart with you.

 (c) Mellissa Sims and She Smiles Within
See copyright notice on front page side bar.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Coming Soon...

 

I want to thank you for visiting my blog. I can't wait to share with you all of the things that have been on my heart. I hope to laugh with you, cry with you, encourage you and most importantly make an impact on your life if only for a brief moment in time.

Feel free to follow. There is so much in store for you. You wont be disappointed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"This is my DESTINY"


“This is my Destiny”

I took my son to see Boxtrolls this past weekend.

**By the way…This is a spoiler alert. If you plan to see the movie, don’t read the content below. However, I am so glad that you stopped by my page. Come by more often ;-). **

A quick synopsis of the story: Snatcher, the villain of the story was someone who desired to change his course in life. He wanted a “white hat”. The white hat in the movie represented an elite status of privilege, control and power. They made the decisions, they represented the town and lastly were able to do something that no one else in town could. Snatcher would do anything to earn one of those hats. He went about trying to earn his right to wear one through dishonesty, oppression of a group that was different from him (hmm), and even pretending to be a woman. Yes, it was quite pitiful and comical to say the least, but It literally meant that much to him. The one thing that the elite could do that no one else could was indulge in the most expensive, tastiest chunks of cheese. They would sit around and make decisions concerning the town (or not) while tasting and reviewing the spread of cheese that was laid before them.  It wasn’t until further on in the story that the fact that Snatcher was allergic to cheese was revealed. Nonetheless, he would stop at nothing for his opportunity to change his status. And guess what…At the end of the movie he got the chance to “enjoy” his piece of cheese at a table of “white hats”. Before he dramatically and hesitantly placed the piece of cheese on his tongue, he exclaimed, “This is my destiny” to the young boy who tried to tell him that "the cheese, the hats, none of it made" him. I sat there confused and oddly entertained. How could he possibly think that indulging in cheese was part of his destiny when he was deathly allergic it?!!!! It’s like watching someone who is lactose intolerant eat nacho cheese dip. You want to knock that chip right out of their hand and on to the floor. Noooo!!!!!!

Don’t do it, it won’t change who you are…

He swallowed the piece cheese and everyone sat in silence as his tummy rumbled slightly. Then, all of a sudden, his body “swelled like a balloon and burst into a hurricane of yuck”.  Was this an example of denial at its best or was this pride? He had to have known that the thing he wanted so badly would result in his demise! But this guy was determined and was willing to risk it all for a chance to be a part of the elite club. What are you compromising, giving of yourself or trying to do in order to fit in. It really is okay to be outside the box, different, or peculiar. Just be who you are. “You don’t have to be special to be special in your own way” – says my ten year old son. He wanted to provide his input but even he understands what we all should already know.

I see so often people try to fit a mold when they weren’t made to fit into it. Heck, I’ve even been guilty of it. Can you imagine someone shaped as a square trying to fit into a circle shaped car? Shoving their body in, removing and destroying valuable and unique parts of them.  Only to finish the forceful shoving event by screaming the words “perfect” as they agonize and long for release. Can you imagine how uncomfortable it is? It’s even more uncomfortable to watch. Have you ever witnessed this in your personal life? How often do we do this at work, with friends, colleagues and even with family members. Why aren’t people comfortable being themselves. Being yourself doesn’t mean you have to do something crazy or aim for shock value in order to impress. Being yourself means being so comfortable in who you are that nothing can keep you from being true to that.  You know what I think? I think fear keeps us from being ourselves. Fear of judgment, fear of not being accepted, fear of being alone. Ask yourself if a lifetime of loss is worth not facing this fear? You lose joy, freedom, individuality, and the opportunity to be someone that others can look up to. #BeYourself #thegreentutu

 
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